Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Upside down Down Under


UPSIDE DOWN is today's subject for City Daily Photo Theme Day.
My laundry was drying on the fence in the hot Australian sun back in 2005 when I lived an almost hermit life for a month in rural New South Wales as a volunteer for the Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary.
To read more about the good life there and to see some of the over 100 sweet donkeys, please go to my earlier posts,  "Preaching to the donkeys"  and  "Bless the donkeys."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Art in ruins


Let's peek in and see what's behind that enticing sign that warns "Caution, abandoned and shut up building."

Lots of buildings in the older neighborhoods of Tel Aviv are now roofless and have their windows blocked up.

Ah, but the mural artist Dede (whose two-headed animals we saw in last week's post)
has given life to the crumbling wall!

The walls have ears (as the old saying goes), but now they have eyes too.
(Linking to Monday Murals, Our World Tuesday, and signs, signs.)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Trumpeldor Cemetery by night


My kind relative who hosted me for the weekend, her apartment overlooks Tel Aviv's historic Trumpeldor Cemetery.
It makes for a pretty quiet neighborhood, except for the frequent jets that come in over the Mediterranean (a block away) and fly over exactly overhead, some with landing gear already down, en route to Ben Gurion Airport.

Only a few plots remain and will go to top VIPs.
Since its founding in 1902, some 5,000 people have been buried there.
Tel Aviv was founded only later, in 1909.

You can see daytime shots of the cemetery and read more about it in my earlier posts:
"So many life stories in a small place" 
"Find a grave via SMS"
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday, where bloggers share their photos of houses of worship and sometimes cemeteries.)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rainbow flags of Tel Aviv


Tel Aviv has long been known in the world as a very gay-friendly city.

UPDATE/Correction: A reader adds that the rainbow flag in the photo above has nothing to do with gay pride. See more in the comments. 

Here are some of Tel Aviv's many rainbow flags that I photographed a week ago, way before yesterday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

You might be surprised by some things in the Wikipedia article LGBT rights in Israel.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Happening now: Tel Aviv's White Night


The man sleeping on this bench won't be getting much sleep tonight.
Tel Aviv is having its annual White Night with dozens of free outdoor and indoor  music and cultural events going on till morning.
UNESCO proclaimed Tel Aviv's White City a World Cultural Heritage site in 2003, and since then the White Night has happened every last Thursday of June.
In the White City district there will be decorative illumination of Bauhaus buildings, which is what the world recognition is all about. 
This year's White Night events are a tribute to European culture and are being held in cooperation with the European Union and its member states, featuring artists and chefs from Europe. 
See Ynetnews for a list of the activities.

I'm back home in Meitar, getting a good night's sleep here in the quiet Negev desert.  :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Indoor-outdoor trees


Modern Tel Aviv architecture on Hayarkon Street by the sea.
An open space for two trees.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New bridge in Beer Sheva


Just my luck that when I wanted to take the train from Beer Sheva to Tel Aviv last Friday, that line was closed for the weekend.
The reason: two huge cranes were maneuvering a new bridge into place above the railroad tracks at the Beer Sheva North/University station. 

In this shot from the bus taken today you can see the whole length of the pedestrian bridge, which will allow access to the new high-tech business park being constructed north of the station.

It will look nice once they take down the construction hording and fix up the base.
And I made it to Tel Aviv on the bus in only an hour and twenty minutes on Friday afternoon, before Shabbat, when buses and trains stop running until the end of the Sabbath on Saturday night.
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Two heads are better than one.


Having spent the weekend in the BIG city Tel Aviv, I finally have some street art to contribute to Monday Murals.
Click a few times to see the big picture. 

On his website Dede shares other examples of his "WildLife."

Here's more about him from the same website:
Is a Tel-Aviv-based conceptual artist who utilizes various mediums to communicate within the public arena. He has been displaying his art on the streets of Tel-Aviv and other cities worldwide since 2006.
A self-proclaimed ‘urban tourist’, Dede strolls through the dynamic urban environment, complementing it with creations that focus on the absurdity of the urban existence. Dede’s creations aim to promote reexamination of personal and societal conventions. His art revolves around issues of identity, belonging, loneliness, alienation, and the consequent desire to escape reality, either physically or spiritually.
Dede’s art presents the viewer with a dilemma and/or its solution in an ironic and complex way. His public creations present citizens with art that is devoid of the mediation and meddling of galleries or curators.
Influences on Dede’s art include the environment, architecture, art, rhythm, sound, politics, and passersby. It is dependent on impulsiveness, fate and mood. It is spontaneous and entails unrelated ideas that enmesh to form new content.
The thought, idea and message always arise before the production of the piece, and dictate the chosen medium. The urban landscape is part of the creation process as is the final chosen location. As such, the urban environment serves as Dede’s home and is used as a backdrop as well as an integral part of his art.
(Linking also to Camera Critters.)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

To Tel Aviv and back


Hi folks, sorry for my long absence.
I've been away for a few days in the big city.
Tel Aviv!
More pictures soon, after I get back from Tai Chi/Qigong class.
(Linking to Weekend Reflections meme.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wine and woe at Bethsaida


For ABC Wednesday, W is for wine and woe at Bethsaida.
The winegrower's house was given an appropriate passage from the Apocryphal book Sirach.

The famous verse Luke 10:13, "Woe to you, Chorazin, woe to you, Bethsaida . . ."

I took part in the early excavations of Bethsaida back in the early 1990s.

The site has come a long way since then and is open to pilgrims and tourists.
The dig is still underway, still directed by Dr. Rami Arav. 
If you are ever near the Sea of Galilee, pay a visit.
But watch your step, the town may still be cursed.  :/
More pictures of Bethsaida at my earlier post.
(Linking to signs, signs.)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Two domes, one crescent and one cross


In honor of Ramadan, which begins on Thursday, here is a favorite shot of the Dome of the Rock.
It is a Muslim shrine (not a mosque), built in 687-691 by the ninth Omayyad caliph, Abd al-Malik.
I took this picture in December 2008 from the roof of the Ecce Homo Convent.
The grey dome with the cross belongs to their church. 
On the left of the photo is the Mount of Olives.
All the houses of worship and the holy places are packed together in Jerusalem's Old City, area less than one square kilometer.
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday.  Lots of nice churches at the meme; have a look.)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Missing the Hills of Jerusalem tonight


Remembering cool evenings in the Jerusalem Hills, sunsets, jackals, old friends, and the terrace of St. Elisabeth's built by the 12th century Crusaders.
Sigh . . .
Shabbat shalom from the hot desert.
And thanks to Kristine S. for taking the photo. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fountains in the desert


Beer Sheva is a city in the dry Negev desert.
But it wants to be branded as Israel's "Water City."
And so there are some thirty fountains.

This one, The Globe, turns around and around in a shower of water.
At night it is illuminated with colored lights, or so I learn from this little video of Beer Sheva's fountains:


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Viticulture at Latrun Monastery


There, you see?
Rows and rows of grape vines.

Beyond the vineyard is an ancient Crusader fortress on the hill.
(Click on the photo and then once again to see the fort better.) 

It's beautiful country in central Israel.
The Trappist monks at Latrun monastery  harvest the grapes and then make and sell their wine.
V is for viticulture, viniculture, vineyards, and Vitus vinifera (the common grape vine) for ABC Wednesday.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Church of All the Saints of the Holy Land and Russia


This beautiful church in Ein Kerem is called the Church of All the Saints of the Holy Land and Russia.
(You can click two separate times to enlarge any of the pictures.)

And today, on the Byzantine liturgical calendar, it is Sunday of All Saints.

The Divine Liturgy for the Feast of All Saints of the Holy Land took place this morning at the church of the same name within the Gorny Convent.

 Russians built the convent in 1871 but the big church was "on hold" for over a century.
Just a few years ago it was finally finished, complete with golden domes.
It looks out over my beloved Jerusalem Hills.

Read more about this Sunday at the Greek Orthodox website, including this nice summary:
In this celebration, then, we the pious reverently honour and call blessed all the Righteous, the Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Shepherds, Teachers, and Holy Monastics, both men and women alike, known and unknown, who have been added to the choirs of the Saints and shall be added, from the time of Adam until the end of the world, who have been perfected in piety and have glorified God by their holy lives. All these, as well as the orders of the Angels, and especially our most holy Lady and Queen, the Ever-virgin Theotokos Mary, do we honour today, setting their life before us as an example of virtue, and entreating them to intercede in our behalf with God, Whose grace and boundless mercy be with us all. Amen.
More pictures of the Russian Orthodox nuns and the several churches at the Gorny Convent in my earlier posts.
And speaking of Russian Orthodox nuns, good Sister Dr. Vassa has started sharing whatever insights come to her during her morning reflections on how to make improvements in her and our spiritual life and life in general.  Very helpful, even for me, a non-Christian!
Just go to https://www.facebook.com/ and type in Vassa Larin.
Her posts are public and you do not need to have a Facebook account to see them.

UPDATE June 9: The Moscow Patriarchate just published their photos from the feast day at the church in Gorny Convent, with the arrival of an icon from Mt. Athos. 
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday and to the bloggers' meme for churches around the world, inSPIRED Sunday.)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Six Day War started 48 years ago today


Today's soldiers at the Western Wall.

On this date, June 5, the Six Day War started, back in 1967.
(I still lived in Chicago then; I made aliyah to Israel nine months after.)
On the national level so much has changed in those 48 years -- and yet so little.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Unable and unwilling to go underground


A few weeks ago you came on our small group night hike to a little-known ancient cistern just outside Meitar.
I went back on my own in the sunlight to explore better. 
Several meters above the ceiling of the cistern I found the opening from which people (farmers? monks?) would lower their buckets and draw water some 1,500 years ago.
Now it is covered with rebar so no one will fall in.

Lower down you see the built stone wall near the entrance to the cistern.

 The sign says "Cistern [ma-agurah].  A typical Roman and Byzantine era water-collection cistern."

The ancients did a beautiful job of carving it out of the soft chalk stone.

A major disappointment was to find the carved steps were now worn down to almost nothing, very slippery and on a steep incline.
I was dying to see the inside but I really didn't want to die alone in the desert if I slipped and fell into the deep cistern.  No one would have found me. 

From a distance you can see how rain water from the higher hills ran down and collected in the big cistern.
Probably in former times there were channels to direct the rain water.

 "DANGER! -- open pit" sign in Hebrew and Arabic.

I turned back to head home through the forest on the Israel Trail.
 (Linking to ABC Wednesday  U-Day and to signs, signs.)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Going out in style


This elegant carved and painted wood carriage was made in Szarvas, Hungary, in the 19th century.
Would you believe, it was used for funerals!
I'd call that going out in style.

The sign next to it at the Israel Museum says this about the Chevra Kadisha (Jewish burial society) carriage:
Accompanying the dead on their final journey towards burial is part of the tradition of honoring the deceased and is already mentioned in Rabbinic literature as one of the essential deeds "for which one is rewarded in one's lifetime and also earns a reward in the world to come."
Funeral processions were held with due ceremony and the deceased was carried in a special vehicle, such as this majestic carriage from Hungary.

City Daily Photo bloggers are meeting at our portal for the June 1st Theme Day.
Visit and see how they are interpreting today's theme, "Stylish."